I have a tendency to be a blabber mouth. Give me a drink, and I will tell you almost anything. Not secrets about others, mind you (I am unswervingly loyal), but I will be the first to confess something awful about my kids, my parenting, or myself.
Who do I blame for this confessional tendency? England, thank you very much. The self deprecation, the irony, the insistence on putting people at ease by being disarmingly honest is a direct result of having spent 14 years in that fabulous country.
This habit I have of putting a somewhat negative spin on personal things drives my husband (an American, through and through) crazy. He doesn’t want people knowing when our kids got a C in school, when I was an hour late for carpool, when our third child was forgotten in her car seat in the kitchen as I happily drove off, or that, at times, I am so bored by the whole endless routine that I feel insane. No. He would prefer people to think I am always happy, always together, organized and on time, and that our kids are fantastic. Which they are. Just not always their grades…
Meanwhile, I am not actually pessimistic nor am I am whiner, I’m just compulsively honest. And I do it partly because it’s a great relief to me to share my stories of ineptitude. I find it kind of funny. I think others find it funny too. I KNOW it makes them feel good about their own parenting.
Kevin always warns me that people don’t get the irony, or even the element of exaggeration. They think I am ACTUALLY insane, or that I am ACTUALLY neglectful, or that the kids are ACTUALLY dumb. I think he underestimates the intelligence of other mothers.
We need to be more honest with each other. We need to stop pretending our kids are geniuses. Can I tell you how relieved I am when I can see in another mother’s eyes that she is telling me the truth–that her kids are driving her crazy and she thought (for just a second) of going to the parent-teacher conference with a martini in her hand, just to take the edge off a little.
We have to have a sense of humor, people–especially now! I wish we could all revel in our imperfections, embrace our ineptitude,find enjoyment in our own ridiculous misery. Life is too short to spend it pretending we are perfect. It just makes us feel like fakers, and that never feels good.